Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Rosberg a Mercedes ambassador no more
    Rosberg a Mercedes ambassador no more

    Rosberg yet to extend Mercedes ambassador role

  • F1 to organize live 2018 event in Marseille
  • Red Bull paid too much for new Verstappen deal – Lauda
  • Team bosses defend F1 'grid girls'
  • Bottas decision 'right' for Mercedes – Lauda
  • Red Bull changes car launch philosophy for 2018
  • Formula 1 Will Remain On Free-To-Air TV In Germany
  • Todt: F1 teams voted for engine reduction
  • Arrivabene: Allow drivers to use DRS at all times
  • 2017 Ferrari Christmas Media Greeting

Rosberg yet to extend Mercedes ambassador role
(GMM) Nico Rosberg says he is yet to sign a new deal to be an ambassador for Mercedes in 2018.

Although he suddenly quit the German team and F1 after winning the 2016 title, he has remained on the payroll as a brand ambassador.

But for 2018, he is joining the German broadcaster RTL to replace Niki Lauda as an expert F1 pundit.

Asked if his ambassador role will make it hard to criticize Mercedes, Rosberg told Bild: "My contract as a team ambassador expires at the end of the year, so I will be totally independent.

"It may be that I will become a Daimler ambassador next year, but that will not stop me being completely neutral and commenting critically on the races.

"Niki managed to do it as a member of the team, so in my situation I can as well," Rosberg added.

F1 to organize live 2018 event in Marseille
(GMM) F1 looks set to organize another major street event in 2018.

This year, every team and driver except Lewis Hamilton descended on London for a spectacular demonstration of F1 cars.

La Provence reports that a similar live event will happen next year in Marseille, to promote France's return to the F1 calendar.

"The mayor has agreed," deputy mayor Jean Roatta said.

"We have not yet met with representatives of FOM, but we are currently working on security issues and the location, which should be around the Mucem (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations).

"It must happen as it will be very attractive for the city," the deputy mayor added.

Red Bull paid too much for new Verstappen deal – Lauda

Lauda (R) says Verstappen is overpaid
Lauda (R) says Verstappen is overpaid

(GMM) Niki Lauda says Mercedes never negotiated with Max Verstappen this year.

F1 sensation Verstappen was critical of Red Bull earlier in 2017, but ultimately signed a lucrative new contract taking him through to late 2020.

It was believed the Dutch camp managed to push Verstappen's salary into the range of $25-35 million per year by holding talks with Mercedes.

But team chairman Lauda insisted: "We never made a proposal to Max.

"I have a good relationship with Helmut Marko as we often talk and fly together. Today we talked about Verstappen and I told him that they could have saved a lot of money, since we never entered negotiations with him," he told Servus TV.

For his part, Marko insists Red Bull is happy with the new deal entered into by Verstappen.

"We shared with him our plans for the future, guaranteeing that by 2020 we will have the best people and good options for the engine.

"We went to the Honda base in Sakura and the infrastructure is incredible. This convinced him.

"He took advantage of the situation to get a raise in his money, but on this matter he is far from Vettel and Hamilton," Marko insisted.

"If he can win titles he will approach them, but we have good prize money on top of a low base salary," he revealed.

Team bosses defend F1 'grid girls'

F1 team bosses want the grid girls. Of course they are not paying for them.
F1 team bosses want the grid girls. Of course they are not paying for them.

(GMM) Team bosses have now come out to defend the concept of 'grid girls' in formula one.

F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn has said the practice of having attractive women fulfil the role as 'grid girls' is under review.

Max Verstappen insisted last week: "The grid girls must stay."

And Nico Hulkenberg added: "It would be a pity if they took the eye-jewelry from the grid."

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne joined the fray this week by supporting the idea of grid girls, and now his Italian colleague Maurizio Arrivabene says he agrees.

"Grid girls were an integral part of formula one for many years. I think Ross Brawn has more complex and important things to take care of," he said.

Niki Lauda told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV: "The emancipation of women is perfectly right, and in fact they are in the process of overtaking us.

"But why should they not be allowed to stand on the grid anymore?"

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko said of the proposal grid girl ban: "I just cannot imagine that.

"In America, cheerleaders appear before, during and after every game so I see no reason why this should not be done in formula one.

"I think we have other worries," he said.

Bottas decision 'right' for Mercedes – Lauda

Lauda (R) says Bottas right move for Mercedes
Lauda (R) says Bottas right move for Mercedes

(GMM) F1 legend Niki Lauda says Valtteri Bottas has done a good job since replacing Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Some believe the top team should have chosen a more established star like Fernando Alonso to replace 2016 world champion Rosberg.

But Mercedes team chairman Lauda insisted: "The decision to sign Bottas was right."

The F1 legend indicated that Bottas is doing a good job in serving as teammate to the on-form now quadruple world champion Lewis Hamilton.

"I don't know what caused Nico's retirement, but Hamilton has reached a level where it's almost impossible to beat him," Lauda told Servus TV.

"This season, he made no mistakes and did incredible races even though the car was not easy to handle.

"Bottas did his job to push Lewis. Valtteri can perform a little better but the car was not easy to drive and he couldn't get any more from it," he added.

Red Bull changes car launch philosophy for 2018

2016 Red Bull launch
2016 Red Bull launch

(GMM) Red Bull has tweaked its plans so that it is ready to start winning straight away in 2018.

Dr Helmut Marko said that although the energy drink owned team finished this season strongly, Red Bull needs to ensure it is ready to take on Mercedes and Ferrari from the very first race next year.

"We noticed the trend that we earn more points in the second half of the season," he told Servus TV.

"For many years the philosophy of Adrian Newey was to present the car as late as possible, but for next year we have changed the approach.

"Now we are ahead of schedule by two weeks compared to last year," Marko revealed.

"It if the engine is reliable, we will be able to fight in the leading group already from the first race of the season."

Formula 1 Will Remain On Free-To-Air TV In Germany
Formula 1 will remain on free-to-air TV in Germany, "one of its major markets," after agreeing to a contract extension with broadcaster RTL until at least '20, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. F1 said in a statement on Tuesday that the new three-year agreement "included coverage of all free practice sessions, qualifying and the race."

The German Grand Prix, "a home race" for reigning world champion Mercedes as well as Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, is back on the calendar at Hockenheim in '18 after being absent in '17. REUTERS.

BROADBAND TV NEWS' Jorn Krieger reported the situation on the pay-TV market "remains unclear."

The contract with current rights holder Sky Deutschland expired at the end of the current season. Besides Sky, competitors like Eurosport and Perform Group’s streaming portal DAZN are "also believed to be interested in the rights." Meanwhile, RTL "expanded its football offer by securing the free-to-air TV rights for the UEFA Europa League" between '18 and '21.

The broadcaster will be able to show 15 games per season live and cover highlights of all matches. The live games will be "shared between RTL and sister channel Nitro." RTL did not give details on the financial conditions of both sports rights contracts BROADBAND TV NEWS

Todt: F1 teams voted for engine reduction

Jean Todt pushes back on team owners
Jean Todt pushes back on team owners

FIA President Jean Todt says Formula 1 teams voted for a reduction in power unit parts for 2018, amid complaints from some quarters over the revised regulations.

Each Formula 1 driver was permitted four of each of the six power unit elements for the 20 events in 2017, but from next season will have a maximum of three, while an extra race has been added to the roster.

Some manufacturers have questioned whether the reduction to three engines is the correct approach, but Todt reminded critics that teams decided to make the move.

"Now you are talking about the three engines for next year, but again, it was something which was decided," said Todt.

"Some people are still thinking, 'Why don't we have one engine for the whole championship?' It's not something which is new; it was decided years ago for 2018.

"We had some meetings with all the teams, and the way the regulations are made, and the governance is made.

"To change, to decide, 'Now let's go back to four engines', we need unanimous agreement, and we don't get unanimous agreement, so we are three engines."

The engine penalty system, which has been tweaked for 2018, to ensure drivers cannot amass more than a 15-place drop, has been criticized, after lengthy waits over the formation of the order at some events.

Todt commented that he was "not so excited when I read that one team has had 100 grid penalties," but reminded that "some others had no grid penalties," through 2017.

When it was put to Todt that the system could be overhauled, he replied: "So make me a proposal. Honestly, I would be very happy. Make me a proposal, make us a proposal. If you have a good one.

"[A financial penalty] will be encouraging [to] the wealthy teams.

"Does Mercedes care to get [a fine of] 200,000 or 500,000? Then what will people say? The FIA wants to try to find any way to find more money.

"Honestly, if you have good ideas, I'm very happy to take them onboard."

Arrivabene: Allow drivers to use DRS at all times

Arrivabene, Marchionne and Binotto greet the F1 media gang
Arrivabene, Marchionne and Binotto greet the F1 media gang

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne grabbed a chunk of headlines during his lunch with media at Maranello, also speaking on the occasion was Maurizio Arrivabene who gave his views on the Italian team’s 2017 season and weighed in on some of the hot topics dominating headlines during the off-season.

He was asked during the lunch about the policy of silence that characterized Ferrari during the course of the year and Arrivabene explained, “We thought it makes sense for the drivers to talk more than the team boss, after all, they are the stars."

A good idea and granted Sebastian Vettel was always good for a quote, but Kimi Raikkonen is hardly a motormouth on grand prix weekends.

Arrivabene acknowledged, “You’ve got to be very good at interpreting his silence. And by the way, with Kimi if has something to say then he speaks"

And maintained his admiration for the Finn, “I think Kimi is a great driver: he would not have made pole in Monte Carlo if he was not. When you miss the walls by millimeters unless you are a very good driver you will not manage to take pole."

With regards to Vettel, Arrivabene said, “Sebastian is an emotional person. I see him as a fabulous competitor prone to errors of reaction when he is under pressure. Sometimes the horses escape from the stable…"

“That does not change the big champion that he is. You don’t just happen to win four world titles. He already has four titles. Now Lewis Hamilton has captured his fourth World Championship and it’s as if he is the new Schumacher."

Ferrari had the upper hand during the first half of the season, with Vettel leading the standings until the summer break and were looking good for the drivers’ title at that point.

Arrivabene recalled, “We noticed how good our car was during testing in Barcelona. Our only doubt was that we had no idea what Mercedes had in store for the start of the season in Australia."

“We believed that during the testing they did not reveal their hand, but then everyone had to show their hand in Melbourne and it was confirmed that we had a good car."

It would be fair to say that the Asian campaign, starting with the start line crash in Singapore is what destroyed Ferrari’s title challenge, even team president pointed to the Asian races as their downfall.

Arrivabene gave his take, “Much has been said about our difficulties in those three races, but the result in Baku also had a negative impact. We were good in Hungary. If you remember, Vettel drove the car to the end with the steering wheel tilted at 30 degrees."

“But the team worked with the remain cool and calm. Kimi also defended Seb from Hamilton’s attacks and at Hungaroring, it became clear how he had grown up." grandprix247

2017 Ferrari Christmas Media Greeting

Arrivabene, Marchionne and Binotto
Arrivabene, Marchionne and Binotto

The Gestione Sportiva Christmas lunch with members of the media is a time for exchanging season’s greetings after a year spent together at the race tracks. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to look back at the key moments of what was an action packed championship.

“Given where we started from last year, this season we have taken giant strides forward," was president Sergio Marchionne’s overview. “Having said that, the second half of 2017 was…character building. We learned a lot over the past six months, trying to move forward and that’s the most important thing. From back in August of last year, when we overhauled the organization, I totally believed that these guys, with Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal and Mattia Binotto heading up the technical side, would be capable of doing something amazing.

"We really believed we could do much more: but in 2017, we were unable to reach our objectives. That has also resulted in some changes to the organization of the Gestione Sportiva. We can already see significant signs of change when it comes to the team’s production capacity. The important thing is to start 2018 with all this expertise and experience and to manage this organization. I have no doubt that we will be competitive."

Naturally enough, the conversation moved on to the subject of the drivers: “Sebastian Vettel is a guy who studies a lot, studies himself and is committed, therefore, I think that we will see less of his emotive side. I think he has learned enough. Plus, there were plenty of opportunities for him to get annoyed, as he’s had a couple of rather difficult seasons, this year and the previous one.

"I continue to maintain we have an obligation towards these drivers, to give them a car with which they can race the others. I think we gave them a great car in 2017 and so, from now on, it’s down to him. As for Kimi Raikkonen, I believe he is really great, truly talented and I have never doubted his abilities. I tell you, he’s a really top guy, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken pole at a track like Monaco. I think Maurizio has done a great job with the drivers and that’s not an easy task."

Until we meet again on 22nd February, when we will reveal the car that will race in the 2018 world championship, happy holidays to you all.

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